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Petition To Modify an Exemption of a Previously Approved Antitheft Device; Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mitsubishi Outlander

Petition To Modify an Exemption of a Previously Approved Antitheft Device; Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
November 28, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 28, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71030-71031]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-28813]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition To Modify an Exemption of a Previously Approved 
Antitheft Device; Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Grant of petition to modify an exemption of a previously 
approved antitheft device.

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SUMMARY: On February 2, 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) granted in full Mitsubishi Motors R&D 
(Mitsubishi) of America's petition for an exemption in accordance with 
Sec.  543.9(c)(2) of 49 CFR part 543, Exemption From the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the Mitsubishi Outlander vehicle line beginning 
with its model year (MY) 2011 vehicles. On August 6, 2012, Mitsubishi 
submitted a petition to modify its previously approved exemption for 
the Outlander vehicle line beginning with its model year (MY) 2014 
vehicles. Mitsubishi also requested confidential treatment of specific 
information in its petition. The agency will address Mitsubishi's 
request for confidential treatment by separate letter. NHTSA is 
granting Mitsubishi's petition to modify the exemption in full because 
it has determined that the modified device is also likely to be as 
effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance 
with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.

DATES: The modification granted by this notice is effective beginning 
with the 2014 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Mazyck's telephone 
number is (202) 366-4139. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 2, 2009, NHTSA published in the 
Federal Register a notice granting in full a petition from Mitsubishi 
for an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR 541) for the Outlander vehicle line 
beginning with its MY 2011 vehicles (see 74 FR 5891, February 2, 2009). 
The Mitsubishi Outlander is currently equipped with a passive, 
transponder-based, electronic engine immobilizer device and an audible 
and visible alarm.
    On August 6, 2012, Mitsubishi submitted a petition to modify the 
previously approved exemption for the Outlander vehicle line. This 
notice grants in full Mitsubishi's petition to modify the exemption for 
the Outlander vehicle line beginning with its MY 2014 vehicles. 
Mitsubishi's submission is a complete petition, as required by 49 CFR 
part 543.9(d), in that it meets the general requirements contained in 
49 CFR Part 543.5 and the specific content requirements of 49 CFR part 
543.6. Mitsubishi's petition for modification provides a detailed 
description and diagram of the identity, design, and location of the 
components of the antitheft device proposed for installation beginning 
with the 2014 model year.
    The current antitheft device installed on the Mitsubishi Outlander 
included an electronic key, electronic control unit (ECU), and a 
passive immobilizer. Mitsubishi stated that entry models for the 
Outlander vehicle line are equipped with an immobilizer that functions 
via a Wireless Control Module (WCM). The features of the WCM include a 
transponder key, key ring antenna, Electronic time and alarm control 
system (ETACS) ECU, and Engine ECU and a receiver antenna. Mitsubishi 
also incorporated an alarm system as standard equipment on all trimline 
vehicles. Mitsubishi stated that this is a keyless entry system in 
which the transponder is located in a traditional key and must be 
inserted into the key cylinder in order to activate the ignition. All 
other models of the Outlander vehicle line are equipped with an 
immobilizer that functions via a Keyless Operation System (KOS). The 
KOS utilizes a keyless system that allows the driver to push a knob in 
the steering lock unit to activate the ignition (instead of using a 
traditional key in the key cylinder) as long as the transponder is 
located in close proximity to the driver inside the vehicle.
    Mitsubishi stated that once the ignition switch is turned to the 
``on'' position, the transceiver module reads the specific ignition key 
code for the vehicle and transmits an encrypted message containing the 
key code to the electronic control unit (ECU). The immobilizer receives 
the key code signal transmitted from either type of key (WCM or KOS) 
and verifies that the key code signal is correct. The immobilizer then 
sends a separate encrypted start-code signal to the engine ECU to allow 
the driver to start the vehicle. The power train only will function if 
the key code matches the unique identification key code previously 
programmed into the ECU. If the codes do not match, the power train 
engine and fuel system will be disabled. Mitsubishi state that the only 
difference between the two keyless entry systems is the ``key'' and the 
method used to transmit the information from the key to the 
immobilizer.
    In its 2014 modification, Mitsubishi stated that it will continue 
to offer the WCM as standard equipment for the entry models for the 
Outlander vehicle line but all models other than the entry models will 
be equipped with a One-touch Starting System (OSS). The features of the 
OSS are the Engine ECU, ETACS ECU, OSS ECU, KOS ECU, engine (power) 
switch, keyless Operation Key (transponder key) and LF antenna. The OSS 
utilizes a keyless system that allows the driver to press a button 
located on the instrument panel to activate and deactivate the ignition 
(instead of using a traditional key in the key cylinder) as long as the 
transponder is located in close proximity to the driver. Mitsubishi 
stated that it will also introduce another model into the Outlander 
vehicle line beginning with its MY 2014 vehicle.
    Once the ignition switch is pushed to the ``on'' position, the 
transceiver module reads the specific ignition key code for the vehicle 
and transmits an encrypted message containing the key code to the 
electronic control unit (ECU) which verifies that the key is correct. 
The immobilizer then sends a separate encrypted start-code signal to 
the engine ECU to allow the driver to start the vehicle. The engine 
will only function if the key code matches the unique identification 
key code previously programmed into the ECU. If the codes do not match, 
the engine and fuel system will be disabled. Mitsubishi further stated 
that the OSS has 250 million possible codes, making successful key code 
duplication nearly impossible. Mitsubishi stated that the immobilizer 
device and the ECU share security data when first installed during 
vehicle assembly, making them a matched set. These matched modules will 
not function if taken out and reinstalled separately on other vehicles. 
Mitsubishi also stated that the device is extremely reliable and 
durable because there are no moving parts, the key does not require a 
separate battery and it is impossible to mechanically override the 
device and start the vehicle.
    Mitsubishi stated that the Mitsubishi Outlander has been equipped 
with the immobilizer device since MY 2007.

[[Page 71031]]

Mitsubishi further stated that the OSS immobilizer device will be 
identical to the one installed on its Outlander Sport vehicle line. 
Mitsubishi was granted an exemption for the Outlander Sport vehicle 
line on February 14, 2011 by NHTSA (See 76 FR 8400) beginning with its 
MY 2012 vehicles. Since the agency granted Mitsubishi's exemption for 
its MY 2012 Outlander Sport vehicle line, there has been no available 
theft rate information for this vehicle. Mitsubishi also informed the 
agency that the Eclipse, Galant, Endeavor, Outlander, Lancer, and I-
MiEv vehicle lines have been equipped with a similar type of 
immobilizer device since January 2000, January 2004, April 2004, 
September 2006, March 2007, and October 2011 respectively, and they 
have all been granted parts-marking exemptions by the agency. 
Mitsubishi also stated that its Eclipse vehicle line has been equipped 
with a similar device since introduction of its MY 2000 vehicles. 
Mitsubishi further stated that the theft rate for the MY 2000 Eclipse 
decreased by almost 42% when compared with that of its MY 1999 
Mitsubishi Eclipse (unequipped with an immobilizer device). Mitsubishi 
has concluded that the proposed antitheft device for its vehicle line 
is no less effective than those devices in the lines for which NHTSA 
has already granted full exemption from the parts-marking requirements. 
The average theft rates using 3 MY's data for the Mitsubishi Eclipse, 
Galant, Endeavor, Outlander and Lancer vehicle lines are 1.7356, 
4.8973, 1.1619, 0.3341 and 1.0871 respectively. Theft rate data for the 
Outlander Sport and i-MiEV are not available.
    The agency has evaluated Mitsubishi's MY 2014 petition to modify 
the exemption for the Outlander vehicle line from the parts-marking 
requirements of 49 CFR Part 541, and has decided to grant it. Since the 
same aspects of performance (i.e., arming and the immobilization 
feature) are still provided, the agency believes that the same level of 
protection is being met. The agency believes that the proposed device 
will continue to provide the five types of performance listed in Sec.  
543.6(a)(3): promoting activation; attracting attention to the efforts 
of unauthorized persons to enter or operate a vehicle by means other 
than a key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by 
unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by 
unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of 
the device.
    If Mitsubishi decides not to use the exemption for this line, it 
should formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line 
must be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR parts 
541.5 and 541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement 
parts).
    NHTSA suggests that if the manufacturer contemplates making any 
changes, the effects of which might be characterized as de minimis, it 
should consult the agency before preparing and submitting a petition to 
modify.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 33106; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    Issued on: November 21, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-28813 Filed 11-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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